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Thursday, 20 September 2001
Page: 27529

Senator ALSTON (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (1:51 PM) —I thank all members for their contributions to the debate on the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2001 and in particular the Labor Party for its constructive approach to having these matters disposed of expeditiously. The amendment really is a response to the Interactive Gambling Act, which is already in force. It also needs to be said that the reason for this amendment is that it was never the intention of the act to restrict offline or land based gambling or the advertising of such services. Whilst we remain very concerned about the socially harmful effects of poker machines in casinos, the responsibility for these rests with the states and territories which have allowed them to proliferate.

We will not support the second reading amendment. We do not support regulation as an alternative to a ban. We note that the states and territories still have not agreed on new national standards. There is no reason to think that they will be able to do that or be any more successful in restricting the growth of new forms of gambling than they have been with poker machines.

Amendment not agreed to.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.